April Fool’s Day Fun!

April

Are you ready for some April Fool’s Day fun tomorrow? Whether you are regular pranksters or this will be your first attempt, here are some family-fun ways to get your kids tomorrow morning and that won’t cause a huge mess or require too much planning… Because we know you just don’t have time for anything big or messy.

Ice Dispensing Fun

If your fridge has an ice dispenser, remove the ice box, empty all of the ice, clean and dry the ice box. Now fill it with something yummy like Smarties, Skittles or another candy that will survive freezing and not clog the dispenser. Now, send your kid to get you a glass of ice water and watch their face!

Brown-E Delight

Get a few pieces of brown construction paper and cut out a bunch of letter E’s. Put them in a baking pan and cover it with tin foil. Tell your kids – surprise! You made them brownies/brown-E’s! and send them to help themselves to as many as they’d like.

Funky Milk

Before you go to bed tonight, tint the milk in the fridge with food colouring – a few drops of the kids favourite colour. Watch their confusion when they pour some into their cereal in the morning!

Remote Woes

Put a piece of clear tape over the sensor on your TV remote and watch the struggles begin when it’s time to turn on the TV.

Flip their World

After they go to bed tonight, turn as many things as possible upside down – pictures, dishes, furniture, etc and see how long it takes them to notice!

Tape the Door

You can use either masking tape or streamers for this one, but either way stretch tape or streamers across their bedroom door over and over and over to form a web that they’ll have to crash through to get out in the morning.

Jello Juice

Make jello in their juice cups tonight. Tomorrow, when they ask for a cup of juice, pretend to pour some in and hand them their cup of ‘juice’.

Big Eater

Give your kids large serving spoons and forks instead of their regular smaller ones when you serve them breakfast or dinner.

Stuffy Shoes

Fill their shoes (or boots, come on, it’s still cold out!) with tissues or toilet paper so that they can’t get their feet in them.

Lucky Loonie

Glue a loonie to the ground right outside your door or on the sidewalk where they will definitely see it (point it out if they don’t!). Try not to laugh too loudly as they try to pry it off.

Toothpaste Cookies

If you have Oreo’s on hand, take the cookie apart, lick out the icing (I know, this is asking a lot of you). Put a dab of toothpaste in it’s place and put the cookie pieces back together. Tell your kids you have a treat for them.

Unsudsy Soap

Take the bar of soap out of your kids bath/shower and carefully paint it with clear nail polish. When they try to use it in the morning it won’t suds up for them!

Easter Eggs

easter

Easter is less than one week away and whether you are celebrating the Christian way or just with the good ol’ Easter Bunny, there’s a good chance that Easter eggs are going to play a part in your festivities. If you are looking to decorate your eggs in some new and fabulous way, we have Googled and pinned to the best of our ability to bring you a bevy of Easter egg possibilities. All you have to answer is this: hard boiled or blown?

Preparing Your Eggs

There are three ways that you can get your eggs ready for decorating. The first is to leave them raw. This is ill advised because of the length of time you will likely have them out and the mess that they will make if they accidentally slip from little hands. It is unlikely that they will be in any decent shape to eat after decorating and they will likely begin to smell, depending on how soon you decorate them.

Option two is to hard boil your eggs. Continue reading

Stars and Strollers

starsandstrollers

Oh, Mama. Remember those days when you would see all of the new releases? When you watched the Oscars and actually had an opinion on who won? Has it been a while since you went out in public during the day by choice? How about since you went to the movie theatre? If these questions have you sobbing into a dirty receiving blanket, then Stars and Strollers might just be your thing!

At both Silver City Masonville and Cineplex Westmount, you can go to a matinee movie every week – WITH your baby! The best part is, you’ll be there with other moms, just like you. Baby crying? No big deal. Hungry baby? Go ahead and feed them! Dirty diaper? There’s a change table. They even have stroller parking! The lights will be dimmed so you won’t have to trip over diaper bags if you need to get up and the volume will be just a bit lower than usual so that the noise won’t startle your little one.

Every week, both theatres will have two current movies each for you to choose from. This week, for example, you can choose from Cinderella and Run All Night at Silver City or Home and Insurgent at Westmount. Shows are Wednesdays at 1:00pm. Parents who go with their baby (under 2 years of age) will receive $2.00 off their regular admission. You don’t have to have a kid to go – the theatres are still open to everyone! However, kick back and relax, because anyone who is there knows that this viewing is all about the Moms.

And who knows, maybe next March you’ll actually know some of the nominated movies! ;)

Earth Hour

earth

Once a year, for one hour, the Earth asks us to shut down and take a 60 minute time out from using electricity. Climate change effects us all, our weather, our landscape, our food, our habitat. Humans need to reduce their energy consumption, shrink their ecological footprint. Earth Hour is a great time to sit down with your children and discuss the impact we have on our environment and what we can do to scale back. No pressure, but last year London’s electricity use went UP during Earth Hour which was an awful embarrassment.

CHALLENGE

The challenge is to turn off as many electrical devices and appliances as is safe to do TODAY from 8:30 to 9:30pm.  Turn off power bars, unplug chargers, turn off the TV, the computer, the lights, your laptop, your phone – yes, even those things running on battery power that require electricity to charge! Turn down the heat a degree or two, don’t open the fridge, don’t touch the stove or microwave. Can you do it for an entire hour?

FAMILY INVOLVEMENT

Many of us have small children that will be in bed during the real Earth Hour, but that doesn’t meant that you can’t get them involved. Schedule an hour earlier in the day and challenge yourselves to make it through without electricity or screens or anything that requires power. Do it over dinner time and get them to help you make a meal that doesn’t involve the stove. Do it over bedtime and have your stories by candlelight. Do it in the middle of the day and go outside! Make sure you talk to them about why you need to make this change and brainstorm ways that you can cut back on your electricity all through the year.

  • turn down the heat and use more blankets in the cold months
  • turn down the a/c and turn on fans in the warm months
  • unplug, unplug, unplug
  • turn off the lights!
  • only wash full loads of dishes or laundry
  • have one dinner each week without using appliances (take out doesn’t count!)
  • hang up your laundry to dry
  • open your dishwasher at the end of the cycle and let them air dry instead of heat dry
  • change and/or clean your filters regularly
  • wash laundry in cold water
  • switch out your old lightbulbs
  • before buying something, consider whether it can be reused or recycled when you’re done with it

Spring Food Drive

foodbank

Every spring, the London Food Bank looks to Londoners to step up their game and make a conscious effort do donate to the food bank. The Spring Food Drive officially begins today and runs until Monday, April 6. the demand for help at the Food Bank has increased over the past few years and even hit a new single day record high last month of 296 families asking for support. If it’s within your abilities, consider donating. Get your children involved and have that discussion about poverty with them, let them pick out some of their favourite non-perishable foods at the grocery store to donate, and have them put the food in the donation bins. Talk to them about why donating is important for you and for our community.

WHERE TO DONATE:

Most London grocery stores are collecting non-perishable food items for the Food Bank

London Fire Halls

London Food Bank

WHAT TO DONATE:

CASH – make a cash donation to the London Food Bank HERE.

Canned Fruit

Canned Vegetables

Canned Meat and Fish

Peanut Butter

Baby Food and Formula

Pasta and Pasta Sauces

Rice

Special Diet Foods (gluten free, lactose free, etc.)

Feminine Hygiene Products (tampons, maxi pads, etc.)

DO NOT DONATE:

Perishable food items (i.e. fresh food, bread, fruit, vegetables, milk, dairy, frozen food, commercial baked goods etc.) ** Fruits and vegetables CAN be brought directly to the Food Bank, but NOT placed in donation bins

Expired food items (check the date when you’re clearing out your pantry!)

Homemade food

Opened containers

Unlabeled cans or containers

 

If you need help from the London Food Bank, see HERE.

 

 

This Weekend in London

MARCH

Spring is here, Easter is around the corner, roadkill is gracing the main roads, and life in this gorgeous city is becoming a bit more bearable. If you would like to get out of your house and shake off some of this cabin fever, here is what London has to offer you:

SUGAR BUSH

It’s the last weekend for many of the sugar shacks in the London area. If you haven’t yet had your maple fix, get on out there and enjoy it. The maple season only happens once per year, but you can buy local maple products throughout the year at local markets and even many grocery stores. Be sure to either stock up or read the labels so that you’re supporting our fabulous local maple farms.

FAMILY FAVOURITES

Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel is going to be playing at Silver City Theatre in Masonville at 11:00am this Saturday, March 28. Admission is only $2.99 per person, no matter your age! If Alvin is a little too squeaky for you, Silver City and most other local theatres are playing Cinderella, the new animated movie Home, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, or Insurgent for the older kids. If you received a Cineplex Holiday gift card and it came with coupons, those coupons expire at the end of the month, so go use them while you can!

BOLER MOUNTAIN

The season is almost over at Boler Mountain, but weather permitting the slopes will be open this weekend for tubing from noon to 5:00pm Saturday and Sunday, for skiing or snowboarding from 9:00am to 9:00pm Saturday, 9:00am to 6:00pm Sunday. Go enjoy the snow before it’s gone!

ESCAPE ROOMS

Don’t be scared! And don’t put it off too long or you’ll be disappointed. If your interest was piqued about the escape rooms, book one now for this weekend and have a solid hour where you definitely won’t be thinking about the kids.

BUDWEISER GARDENS

It’s time for the OHL Western Conference Quarter Final. Games one and two are this weekend at the Bud Gardens with the London Knights. They are playing against the Kitchener Rangers Friday night at 7:30pm and Sunday afternoon at 4:00pm. There are limited tickets available, so snag some quickly!

 

SUP

supy

There is a new sport that has been gaining a lot of attention the past few summers – Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). SUP is fun, challenging, and something that anyone can give a try recreationally or pursue it as a sport. Part surfing, part kayaking, SUP provides an entire body workout – your lower body and core are working hard to keep you balanced and stable, your upper body is benefiting from the paddling. The view you get when SUP is unlike anything else, almost like you’re walking across the water, seeing everything around you.

Many resorts and beach locations now have places that will rent SUP’s by the hour or day and there are also many classes that are popping up that will teach you how to use a SUP with the proper technique if you’re a little unsure of your abilities. The boards vary, they can be more stable like a kayak and quite easy to stand on or they can be more like a surf board and require a bit more skill.

WhaSUP + City of London Aquatics

In a match made in SUP heaven, WhaSUP Performance Stand Up Paddle Boards out of Troy, Ontario, have paired up with the City of London Aquatics to offer Intro to SUP classes at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre. You can take this opportunity to learn the basics of SUP and practice it in a pool setting before testing out your skills on the open water. Due to overwhelming popularity, the classes have been filling up almost as quickly as the City could announce them. As of the time of posting, there are four spots open for next Saturday’s lesson and all of the other classes have been waitlisted. If you are interested put yourself on a waitlist to encourage the city to add more classes! **in the online spectrum, search Aquatics -> Leadership -> page 3

SUP Yoga

Mastered the paddleboard and looking for a REAL challenge? SUP Yoga has become the best combination for adventurous yogi’s to take their practice one step further. Doing a tree pose on land may challenge your balance, but it has nothing on doing a tree pose on the water! A simple mountain pose (aka standing in stillness) may become your biggest nemesis if you’re ready to give it a try. Leave your serious self at home: plan to struggle, plan to laugh, plan to fall in, and plan to get a yoga workout like never before. The reward is a savasana that will lull you into a deep, well-deserved relaxation.

The City of London Aquatics, WhaSUP and Laurie Guthrie have come together to offer SUP Yoga classes at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre! These classes are so popular that they’ve had to add not one, but two more groups of lessons to satisfy the demand. There are two spots open for April 4 at the time of this post, but there’s a good chance they’re already gone. Get yourself on a waitlist and cross your fingers that they add more!

Didn’t get in to the City’s classes? Both WhaSUP and Laurie Guthrie offer SUP and SUP Yoga classes in the warmer months at beaches nearby.

 

 

Farm Boy

farmboy

It is the mantra of every healthy eater at the grocery store: shop the perimeter, skip the centre aisles. Sound familiar? Farm Boy takes that one step further by just removing the centre aisles. Instead of a grocery store full of processed, packaged, high-sodium, high-sugar, bags and boxes of things that make nutritionists cringe, they’ve removed all of that stuff and what is left is Farm Boy’s selection of fresh produce, fresh seafood and sushi, Ontario-raised, grain-fed meat, an extensive deli counter, salad bar, antipasto bar, breads, a large selection of cheeses and dairy/dairy-substitutes, and a whole bunch of store-made, ready to eat meals and snacks such as sandwiches, pizza, pasta, soups and desserts. There’s even a space for you to take your food and eat it there if you can’t wait until you get home ;)

In addition to all of the fresh food, Farm Boy also has their own private label dried goods, sauces, seasonings, tortilla chips, and the like, as well as a selection of packaged foods by other small brands. Think of it like shopping in the natural foods section of your traditional grocery store – you will find nuts, seeds, kale chips, dried fruits, bulk snacks, and the like, most with GMO-free, organic or other labels that set them apart from the big labels.

IF YOU GO

Farm Boy is now open in two locations in London:

1045 Wellington Road South

109 Fanshawe Park Road East

They will soon be opening:

1415 Beaverbrook Avenue

Escape Rooms

escape

There is a new craze that has hit London this winter and it’s one that you should definitely take part in: Escape Rooms! The premise is simple: you and your friends are locked in a room; the clock starts counting down and you have to use the clues and materials in front of you to find your way out of the room. Sounds like a pretty simple thing to do, but it’s not! These rooms will challenge your wit, your problem solving, your team work skills and your ability to think under pressure! They make for a fantastic double date, girls night out, or birthday/bachelorette/pre-baby/post-baby-first-night-out/just-get-me-away-from-these-kids night out. You will laugh, you will groan, you will throw your hands up in frustration – but will you escape? Only time will tell!

ESCAPE

Escape has four themed rooms to trap and intrigue you. Fall down the rabbit hole, get flipped, get lost, or face the inevitable – it’s going to be hard to get out! The rooms accommodate 2-8 people and have varying levels of difficulty depending on just how clever you think you really are. Work together, keep a clear head, and you just might get out before the timer goes off!

COST: $23.95-$28.95/person depending on group size and day of visit. Birthday players are free!

Book online or by phone. Walk-ins welcome when rooms are available.

Recommended 12+ (under 15yo requires an adult to play along)

EXODUS

Exodus has two room layouts – The Den of Deceit and Gemini I & II – and another room soon to come. So far, no one has made it through the Gemini room on the first try and only one team has made it through the Den. Intrigued? These rooms accommodate 2-8 people (larger groups can be split into two and each do a Gemini room at the same time) and you are given one hour to escape. The time will fly by,so think fast, work together and be the team to get your picture on the wall of fame!

COST: $25/person. If you are celebrating a birthday, the birthday person gets in free!

If you are one of the groups that didn’t make it through the first time and are dying to get it right, you can return for half price to redeem yourself.

Book online or by phone.

Recommended 16+

MYSTERY ESCAPE ROOMS

Mystery Escape Rooms have 5 different rooms to choose from and stories to get you in the right mindset for the game. Depending on the room you choose, they can accommodate groups of 2-16 people at a time and have between 45 minutes and one hour to escape.

COST: $25/person ($28 for the mansion). Discounts for students, and for ‘liking’ and ‘checking in’ with them on Facebook.

Book online, by phone, or via email.

Recommended 16+

 

 

First Aid Kit

firstaid

It’s not something that you often think about, but having a fully stocked first aid kit is even more important as a parent. We are entering the season of bumps and scrapes, and unfortunately those bumps and scrapes can require more than just a bandaid. To be sure that you are able to treat whatever your family needs treating, pull out your first aid supplies and make sure that nothing has expired and everything is still sterile and ready to use.

The Canadian Red Cross recommends that you have the following set aside in a bin or container dedicated to first aid supplies. Clearly label your kit, make sure that it is portable, and have it somewhere that your kids can access in case of an emergency. If supplies are used, be sure to restock as soon as you can.

FIRST AID SUPPLIES

  • emergency numbers for EMS/911, your local poison control centre and your families’ doctors
  • home and office numbers for family members, friends or neighbours who can help
  • sterile gauze pads (dressings) in small and large squares to place over wounds
  • adhesive tape
  • roller and triangular bandages to hold dressings in place or to make a sling
  • adhesive bandages in assorted sizes (band-aids)
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • safety pins
  • instant ice packs
  • disposable non-latex gloves, such as surgical or examination gloves
  • flashlight with extra batteries in a separate bag
  • antiseptic wipes or soap
  • pencil and pad
  • emergency blanket
  • eye patches
  • thermometre
  • barrier devices such as a pocket mask or face shield
  • coins for a pay phone (50c)
  • Canadian Red Cross first aid manual

If it seems overwhelming to collect all of this stuff, you can buy pre-made first aid kits with everything you need from places such as Amazon.ca, well.ca, and walmart.ca.

While you are cleaning out your medical supplies, you should also take a moment to check the expiration dates on any medicine in your cabinet and restock if necessary – ibuprofen, Polysporin, After-Bite lotion, acetaminophen, allergy medication, anti-nausea medication, and decongestant are pretty standard needs in both child and adult varieties. Take any expired medication to your local pharmacy for proper disposal instead of throwing it into the garbage and contaminating our environment!